Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Damien Mason from CRH plc to give some advice for people considering this job:

Damien Mason

Mechanical Engineer

CRH plc

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Damien Mason

If you are really interested in people and have good interpersonal skills, you will find this job very rewarding.

Like a lot of jobs, you will not be using all the theoretical knowledge you gained in University or College, but you will develop significant management potential and the environment is stimulating and rewarding.

As an engineer, you will probably spend about 50% of your time in the office, and the other 50% out in the plant.

You should also expect that you may be asked if you are willing to travel abroad. This would be very attractive to most people, and a definite means to gain great experience, but it may not suit everyone.

You should ideally be a balanced person, someone with a good deal of technical knowledge, but also a good ability to deal with people.

Responsibility and challenges will be given to you from day one, and if you can handle the pressure, you will gain more and more responsibilities, ultimately leading you to gain invaluable experience, and undoubtedly onto a successful management position.

With the global nature of ICL's parent company CRH, this could be yours in Ireland or one of many countries worldwide.

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Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be drawn towards the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.

Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
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What is a Career Anyway?

A Career is a central part of an individuals journey through life. As adults we may look back and see how we moved between studying and employment, and between raising a family and various job promotions or job losses. This journey from back in your early school days to where you are today is your career so far. And the years ahead will see your career move on, often in unpredictable ways.

Gone are the days of considering a career as being the occupation you aimed for on leaving school or college, and that you could loose your career if you lost your job. Your career, and that of your children, is now viewed as a journey, and the emphasis now is on ensuring your child is prepared for the journey, not just the first stop.

Jobs, Occupations, Careers - I'm Confused?

Nobody entirely agrees on what these commonly used words mean, but here are some of the more accepted definitions:

Job Work that is paid for in return for performing specific tasks: e.g. an electrical engineer with ESB 
Occupation This refers to a range of correlated jobs that are associated or have similar characteristics – e.g: educator, engineer, scientist
Career The paid and unpaid variety of occupations, skills, experiences and knowledge that one experiences and accrues across a lifetime journey. It refers to the totality of all our relationships with family, friends and associates, our education, leisure activities, voluntary activities and our life roles.

There are lots of career theories and frameworks to help us make sense of this aspect of our lives, one of the most popular is that of John Holland or Donald Super’s Life Span Life Space Theory. Super states that people play nine major roles as they mature – Child, Student, Leisurite, Worker, Citizen, Spouse, Home-maker, Parent, Pensioner. Each of these roles comes with expectations and responsibilities. Super defines career as: ‘the combination and sequence of roles played by a person during the course of a lifetime.’

Without getting too technical, and regardless of which theory you favour, there are some fundemental principles that need to be understood by parents and young adults alike: The High Five Principles for Career Planning